John Tortorella sounded off on the NHL. The abbreviated version of what happened: Garnet Hathaway put a big, clean hit on Luke Hughes simultaneously with a late whistle on a clear icing call. Hathaway received a major and a game misconduct. Later, a similar scenario could’ve played out due to another late whistle from the officiating crew when Rasmus Ristolainen raced with Jesper Bratt. Tortorella didn’t believe Hathaway should’ve been penalized, and it all looks worse after Brendan Smith was able to finish the game after winding up on a slash to the arm of Travis Konecny, who was fined $5k for being on the receiving end.
“It’s a nothing play. I’m not going to give you names; the people who’ve talked to me, who’ve talked to the league, said it was a nothing play. The point there is, and I’m glad the kid [Luke Hughes] isn’t hurt; a really good player and young man in this league, but that’s a problem in our league right now. Our players in this league do not put enough emphasis on making sure you’re protecting yourself from hits like that; making sure you absorb hits like that because we’ve tried to kind of turn this league into a no-hit league. Now, people aren’t ready to be hit. I think it’s a lost art in how you take hits, and I do think, looking at the clip, he thinks it’s icing. A mistake was made. We’ve got good refs, we’ve got good linesmen, but a mistake was made last night, and what bothers me is we had to suffer for that mistake; losing a player. But I believe with the league, it’s a no-go; nothing wrong with the play. It shouldn’t have even been a penalty. It screams to the athletes in our game, be prepared to be hit because big hits are allowed. Nowadays, I’m not so sure because everyone puts their arm up when there is a big hit. It makes me sick what goes on in the league on big hits. That’s part of the game.”John Tortorella; 12/1/2023
Smith since was suspended two games. He was the only skater to receive a player safety hearing, yet a minor penalty at the time of the offense. Hathaway will be in the lineup tonight.
A victory against the intra-state rival would help tread water in the Metropolitan Division. The ‘Battle of Pennsylvania’ begins at the PPG Paints Arena and continues at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday.
Mike Sullivan would feel similar to Tortorella. In his media availability today, he answered a question about whether it is easier or less dangerous for forwards to crash the net:
“I think with the rule changes and the way the game has evolved over the years, the defensemen don’t have the same latitude that they used to at the net front.”Mike Sullivan; 12/2/2023
Erik Karlsson held the line in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 24:13, Karlsson finished with a blocked shot, a takeaway, and a +3 rating. Over his last five games, Karlsson contributed one assist, one hit, and a total of six blocked shots while Pittsburgh went 2-2-1.
Here is the tentative lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, per Seth Rorabaugh:
A commitment to a refreshed approach to hockey is unwavering for Tortorella. He touched on how he knows that odd-man rushes are going to be surrendered during his practice availability with the media but is unwilling to change the aggressive approach:
“We’re playing our game. We’re certainly aware of some of the people they have, but we’re not changing our style from team to team. You’re going to four different teams a week. We’re not changing our style. I just want to reinforce it; we’re going to try to execute our gameplan.”John Tortorella; 12/2/2023
Sean Couturier was active in 19:35 versus the Devils. He contributed an assist from the boards before Sean Walker scored, put seven shots on goal, and blocked a shot. On the powerplay, Couturier was moved net front. There’s an emphasis on tipping pucks, stressed by Tortorella, which is how the Flyers tied the game late via Tyson Foerster:
“We haven’t tipped many pucks, it’s been very frustrating. Coots [Couturier] is a guy that we hope we get some of that; recovers the pucks well, [and] knows how to protect pucks. We had Tyson there. I think Tyson’s probably the strongest player on our team on pucks; [I] wanted to put him there, but I thought we took away some of what we wanted to develop him into as a powerplay guy.”John Tortorella; 12/2/2023
Place Your Bets (via DraftKings)
Philadelphia Flyers (+145)
Pittsburgh Penguins (-175)
Sean Couturier over .5pt (-135)
Erik Karlsson under .5pt (+120)
You can watch the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena for a 7pm faceoff on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The radio broadcast will be on 97.5 the Fanatic.
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)